Bob Cecil, Principal, Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory, KPMG LLP
The importance of governance and cross-functional integration
Once the value proposition and themes are established and embraced, the real GBS journey can begin. Because the predominant organizing structure for most companies is still one of corporate functions and commercial business units, it is imperative that the GBS is actively engaged with them and governed accordingly.
Traditional functional shared services focused on involving the business units as customers of the shared services units through mechanisms such as leadership committees, customer representation, SLAs, regular measurement, customer satisfaction surveys, and transparency in terms of chargebacks and performance.
As you move to a multifunctional GBS model, the business unit governance is key, but now the cross-functional governance becomes even more important. So cross-functional governance committees and global process owners with the right stature and orientation to look across functions are critical. Individual functional customers are critical too.
If the GBS functional customers do not feel they have an adequate say in the direction of the GBS, they will just pull the activities back into a functional shared services environment. Sadly, that’s where many GBSs hit the wall. In that case, the lack of governance and cross-functional integration leave the organization thinking it was, after all, a fad. Been there, done that.
A sustainable trend
It appears GBS is not a fad or cyclical idea. It is more about the vision and the appetite the organization has to do the hard work, strategic thinking, and ongoing governance to support and sustain the GBS. It is this commitment that sends the signal throughout the organization that GBS isn’t a fad, but a sustainable, competitive aspect of the overall business now and for years to come. As one of our consultants reminded us recently, “You know you’ve created a successful GBS when someone outside your company seeks to buy your services.”
That, my friend, is a sustainable trend.
For the full story, download the paper Global Business Services: Fleeting Fad or Lasting Trend? in PDF format on the the KPMG Shared Services and Outsourcing Institute.
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